INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Students protested for about 90 minutes at North Central High School Friday morning over safety concerns.
“We shouldn’t have to walk into our school community and feel like we are going to die,” said a student who was involved in the protest.
This comes just two days after a student was stabbed in the school hallway by another student.
Students who were involved in the protest tell News 8 it was about protecting the student body both against violence from other students and inappropriate behavior from teachers.
According to the school, between 75 and 100 students participated in a sit-in, holding signs and chanting, “We’re not safe.” The school says that for safety reasons students were held in their first period classrooms for about 90 minutes during the protest. Administrators met with some of the students to hear their concerns while the others returned to their first period classrooms.
The school has more than 3,700, according to the latest count from the Indiana Department of Education.
The demonstration came just days after police say 18-year-old Wyatt Maxey stabbed a 17-year-old student in the school hallway.
According to new court documents obtained by News 8, the stabbing started as an argument on Instagram where Maxey and the victim agreed to fight. Maxey allegedly threatened to kill the victim in the online conversation.
According to Maxey, the boys met behind the school where the victim showed up with a friend. Maxey said he was thrown to the ground and kicked.
Maxey admits to following the boys back toward the school, pulling out a knife and threatening to “slice” them, chasing the boys inside of the school and stabbing one of them multiple times.
The victim was stabbed in the heart and suffered two heart attacks while at the hospital after arriving in critical condition.
“What happened on Wednesday was horrifying and the teachers wouldn’t really tell us what happened. We had to find out on our own and that is really sad,” said a student involved in the protest who has requested that their identity be protected.
School staff told police they tried to separate the boys but were unable to. After the stabbing, Maxey was detained by school police until IMPD arrived.
A student involved in the protest says the stabbing was the tipping point that led the students to feel they had to say something.
“We don’t feel safe at school, and school should be a safe learning environment,” the student said.
In an email sent to parents Friday morning, North Central Principal Evans Branigan III said, “We respect student voices and will continue to build opportunities to hear students. It is important to understand this does not mean it is ok to disrupt the school day. For the safety of all students, it is imperative that instructions from teachers and administrators are followed at all times.”
The student protester claims there have been multiple fights in the past month, and that there is one teacher specifically who currently works at the school who regularly treats female students inappropriately. The students have created a petition that has more than 900 signatures to remove the teacher from the school.
Maxey’s initial hearing set for 9a.m. Sept. 16. He is currently being held at the Marion County Jail on a $60,000 bond.
In the meantime, students at North Central say they want more thorough background checks on teachers and more awareness and accessibility regarding the resources that the school offers like the anonymous tip line.